OAKLAND -- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day according to nutritionists, and A's third baseman Josh Donaldson had a particularly pleasing meal on Monday morning.
That's when he found out he was named American League Player of the Week by Major League Baseball.
"I woke up, my girlfriend was cooking breakfast and I turned on MLB Network and within 30 seconds they said it on the TV," Donaldson said. "…I was like, 'this is crazy. Really?' Obviously I put a pretty decent week together, but I wasn't really expecting an award or anything."
Last week Donaldson hit .545 (12-for-22) with seven doubles, 10 RBI, seven walks, four runs scored and a stolen base. Not mentioned in the press release were the highlight reel defensive efforts of the A's third baseman. It doesn't mean it has gone unnoticed.
"I think he is one of the better defenders over there in the league," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We saw it last year."
While Donaldson has played consistent defense all season, his offense hasn't been there from the beginning. He was hitting .120 through the first seven games. Donaldson, 27, wears his heart on his sleeve, and he was getting frustrated early on. By all accounts he was having good at-bats, but the results weren't there.
A quick talk with a teammate helped him turn the corner.
"Early in the year, when I was kind of scuffling a bit, Jed Lowrie came up to me," Donaldson said. "He could see I was getting a little frustrated with myself and we were going out on defense and he said, 'Dude you're a really good player. Don't let this side track you. Stay focused on the task. We need you out here.'"
Shortly after Lowrie's pep talk the hits started coming. Donaldson is batting .394 (26 for 66) over his last 18 games, and is now hitting .319 on the season. Lowrie was right.
"You could see the frustration and Josh is an emotional guy," Lowrie said. "It got to a point where I felt like I could say something to him to just kind of make him step back from that frustration and take a deep breath and get back to being a good player."
Donaldson is tied for second in the A.L. with 10 doubles, and his 10 multi-hit games rank him fifth in the league. The A's may have found a keeper at third base.
A's injury updates:
-- Lowrie's sore neck is feeling better. He was scratched from the lineup on Sunday because he slept on it wrong and was feeling some pain. Trainer Nick Paparesta checked him out and gave him the OK to play.
-- Hiro Nakajima continues to recover from his strained left hamstring. He went 1 for 3 in an extended spring training game and played five innings. He will take Tuesday off and then play six innings on Wednesday, and if everything goes well, he'll head to Sacramento to join the River Cats soon.
-- Dan Straily is starting in place of Brett Anderson, who is recovering from a right ankle sprain. Anderson isn't expected to go on the disabled list.